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Napa Valley fire reignites, hundreds more evacuated

By Amy R. Connolly
A fire in California's Napa Valley that was nearly contained flared up late Tuesday, forcing hundreds out of their homes. Screenshot from KCRA
A fire in California's Napa Valley that was nearly contained flared up late Tuesday, forcing hundreds out of their homes. Screenshot from KCRA

SACRAMENTO, July 29 (UPI) -- A fire in California's Napa wine country that was nearly contained flared up late Tuesday, forcing hundreds out of their homes.

The so-called Wragg fire that began near Lake Berryessa in northern California a week ago already burned some 7,000 acres. Firefighters thought they had it mostly contained, but some brush caught fire outside the perimeter, fueled by high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds. Nearly 200 local residents were evacuated.

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More than 1,100 firefighters were battling the blaze by air and land. One home has been damaged and two outbuildings destroyed.

"With the winds picking up, they're challenging us," said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, adding that firefighters have dug a secondary containment line. "We're hoping those lines will hold it where it's at."

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The fire was towering above the tall treetops, causing concern among local residents. It began last week possibly as a result of a car crash.

"This over here has me kinda worried," said Mike Creel as he pointed to some bushes near his home. "If the wind picks up, it'll push it over this way."

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The wildfire battle comes as the state is struggling with historic drought conditions. With brush and trees bone dry from the lack of water, coupled with high temperatures, the conditions are perfect for huge blazes. Even the lakes that firefighters tap for water sources are running dry.

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"With conditions so dry, we're hitting it with everything we have," Cal Fire Chief of Public Information Daniel Berlant said.

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